One Time, One Night--A Single-Take Preview of One Night Resistance

Firestone got his greedy little hands on a copy of One Night Resistance, so he's going to review a prototype copy before the campaign ends in a few hours. How does this mashup of two of his favorite games play out? Let's find out!

This will inevitably be compared with both The Resistance and One Night Ultimate Werewolf, so when it's applicable, I'll mention similar mechanisms. Also keep in mind that I'm playing a prototype copy of the game, with prototype rules that could change. 

The Setup/Gameplay

The game plays 3 to 10 players, and regardless of that number, you include 3 Spies in the game. You shuffle them up with one Resistance ID for every player (so there will always be three extra IDs), and you deal them out to the players. Then you place the remaining three facedown on the HQ. 

Then (and this is a new and interesting part of the game), you deal out one Specialist card to each player. You'll know ahead of time which ones are in the game. 

Everyone looks at their own ID and Specialist card.

Each Specialist card you use has a token you'll place around the HQ. This is a visual reminder of what's in the game, and people will be claiming these tokens in just a minute.

As with ONUW and The Resistance, there's a time where everyone closes their eyes and the Spies open theirs and see the other Spies (if there are any), and close their eyes again.

Then (another new twist), everyone, starting with the Leader, opens his eyes and takes the action associated with his Specialist. Then when he's done he closes his eyes and says, "Mission Accomplished." Then the next person in turn order opens his eyes and does his Specialist action, and so on. 

Once everyone has taken their Specialist action, the Leader looks at his ID card one more time, and says, "Mission complete. Everyone open your eyes."

Now, starting with the Leader, each person claims a Specialist token, declaring which action they say they took during the night. You don't have to be truthful here, and you might take a token from another player. But there should be no discussion at this point--just grabbing a token.

At this point, the discussion opens up and everyone can discuss everything, as happens in most social deduction games. The Specialist tokens are double-sided, with a red and a blue side, so you try to establish who you think is good or bad. 

You play for a predetermined time, and then the Leader calls for a "1,2,3, Vote!" Whoever has the most votes is killed. As long as a Spy is killed, the Resistance wins (even if a Resistance member also dies). You can vote in a circle if you think all 3 Spies are in the middle. 

The Specialists

Observer--This is basically a Villager. It's worded poorly, and created some confusion for us. 

Inquisitor--Look at one other ID card. Pretty straightforward. This is where turn order can make a real difference.

Signaller--This one is different dpeending on whether you're a Spy or Resistance. If you're a Spy, you tap another Spy on the shoulder if she's sitting to your right or left. If you're Resistance, you just tap the person on your right or left on the shoulder. So if you get tapped, you know the tapper is Resistance. Or was Resistance, depending on turn order...

Thief--Another split role. If you're a Spy, you simply look at your own ID card again. If you're Resistance, you switch one player's ID with your own ID, and look at your new ID. 

Reassignor--If you're a Spy, you take one Spy ID from the HQ (if there is one), and switch it with a Resistance ID. Or what you think is a Resistance ID... If you're Resistance, you just swap two other IDs. 

Analyst--You look at another player's Specialist card. 

Confirmer--View your own ID card. 

Revealer--Flip one other ID card faceup, and if it's a Spy, flip it facedown again. 

The Verdict

I liked One Night Resistance--and so did everyone in my game group. But the important question is: Did anyone like it more than either of its parent games? No. 

Things started off oddly when, in our first game, there were all three Spies out among us in a 5-player game. I was one of them, and as the game got into the negotiation phase, I realized that Spies were the only ones who had any Specialist roles that could look at or manipulate IDs. So I blurted out, "Let's kill Luke!" Then I calmly explained how it was that no one could have changed we three being Spies, and that we outnumbered the Resistance. So we killed Luke and won. There was really no way, in that situation, that the Spies don't win. 

I know. It's a rare occurrence to have that card distribution. And it's a 10-minute game. But it still seemed problematic. I don't think that's possible in ONUW, so that's automatically better. 

But we played other games, and nothing strange happened. Spies won some. Resistance won some. We enjoyed ourselves. 

I especially like that the ID and the Specialist are wholly independent of each other. It changes the way you play the role, based on your ID, and I like that. 

I also like that each person does his or her action in turn order. Now you have to think about when so-and-so took his action, and if he's telling the truth, and what that means for you, who went later in turn order. It just adds layers. 

As I said, I really did like One Night Resistance. Though there are many similarities, there are some differences. But that might be to its detriment. It's in a weird middle place: too similar to be a different game, and too different to be a simple retheme. 

If you have people you game with who have an irrational hatred of anything Werewolf, this would be a good game to bring out. If you don't like being tied to using an app, this is a good option. And One Night Resistance definitely plays more quickly than The Resistance, so if that's important to you, check it out. 

The Final Verdict--I just can't recommend this game over either of its parents. One Night Ultimate Werewolf also plays quickly and has so many roles that it just feels vibrant and alive. And The Resistance is...well, The Resistance. I can find things ONR does differently, but nothing it does better. 

But check it out for yourself! The Kickstarter campaign is in its last 36 hours and going like gang-busters. What are your thoughts? Are you backing One Night Resistance? Let us know in the comments!